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Birchwood

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Once the big house on an Irish estate, Birchwood has turned into a baroque madhouse for its ruined inhabitants. One disaster succeeds another, until young Gabriel Godkin runs away to join a travelling circus and look for his long-lost twin sister. Soon he discovers that famine and unrest stalk the countryside, and Ireland is ruined too. Birchwood represents a watershed in contemporary Irish writing: it is a novel in which history becomes a rich black comedy full of land agitation and Gothic characters; and a sense of bewilderment at the nature of the universe fills its pages' Colm Toibin John Banville is one of the great masters of the ...English language' Catherine Lockerbie, Scotsman Hide synopsis

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Reviews of Birchwood

Overall customer rating: 4.000
violetbooks

A gothic treasure!

by violetbooks on Apr 1, 2007

John Banville is a master of atmosphere and uncannily beautiful, detailed descriptions that so perfectly, headily transport the reader to its dark world. This book is an older one of his that's a classic gothic tale of shadowy thoughts and family dynamics. Its a bit more abstract than his most recent award winning The Sea, but its one of my favourites -and I've read almost all of his work. In the tradition of Patrick MacGrath or Poe, Banville delivers an unforgettable feast of tortured soul that I could not stop reading and will no doubt read again soon.

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